Thursday, September 22, 2022

The co-defendant of a real housewife gets 4 years in prison in a fraud case

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A co-defendant of “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jen Shah has been sentenced to four years in prison. Chad Allen, like Shah, pleaded guilty to a telemarketing fraud scheme earlier this year. He was sentenced on September 15, 2022 in a preview of Shah’s own hearing, scheduled for November 28.

Allen pleaded guilty to conspiracy to wire fraud. Prosecutors had asked for five years in prison, while Allen’s lawyers wanted a year and a day in prison, Heavy court documents show. Allen is also required to pay the victims nearly $2 million in compensation, according to court documents.

“The defendant was a key participant in a widespread and elaborate scheme in which victims across the country were persuaded to invest their entire life savings, deplete their retirement funds, and incur tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt based on the defendants’ allegations. false promises that the victims would make money from an ‘online business’ set up and managed by the defendant’s co-conspirators,” federal prosecutors said in a court filing. “In fact, there were never such deals and the victims
earned the money they were promised.”

Allen, a 44-year-old Arizona resident, was released on bail and will face jail in November, according to court documents. His attorneys wrote in a sentencing statement: “Mr. Allen has a great opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of the law and his family. This experience of being arrested and prosecuted federally was a traumatic experience for him and his family.”

They added: “Based on his conduct after arrest and his commitment to living as a law-abiding citizen and productive member of his community, imprisonment for not more than one year and one day would reasonably deter him from further criminal activity.”

Allen is the latest of Shah’s co-defendants to be sentenced to federal prison. Arash Ketabchi was sentenced to seven years, Christopher Wilson and Carl Morris were both sentenced to six and a half years, and Ryan Hult was sentenced to five years. Others are awaiting sentencing, including Shah’s former assistant, Stuart Smith. His sentencing was delayed because he was scheduled to testify at her trial and no date was set.

The podcast The Bravo Docket, which examines the legal drama surrounding Bravo reality stars, pointed out in August that prosecutors were classifying Allen as a “Level 1” defendant, a group with lesser culpability than those in “Level A”, a group that includes Shah. There are other levels of suspects who are accused below all in the fraud scheme.

Prosecutors wrote in a court filing: “Tier A includes the defendants responsible for orchestrating the broader plan in the western United States and providing the leads that supported the New York and New Jersey area retail spaces. Jennifer Shah and Stuart Smith in particular pulled leads directly from lead sources and made them available to coaching sales spaces in Utah and Nevada, among others.”

In the prosecutor’s sentencing for Allen, they noted something that Shah’s attorneys might notice. They said the parole board recommended a 36-month sentence because all of his previously convicted co-defendants received below-guideline sentences.

After initially saying she was innocent and would fight the charges in court, Jen Shah pleaded guilty just before her federal trial was due to begin. Her plea deal suggests she’s likely to spend a significant amount of time behind bars. She agreed not to appeal a sentence of less than 14 years in prison, while prosecutors said they would not appeal a sentence of less than 11 years.

The federal sentencing guidelines for Shah fall within that range of 11 to 14 years, court documents show. But a judge will be the one who decides on her sentence based on the guidelines, a recommendation from the federal parole board and recommendations from the Shah’s lawyers and prosecutors. These recommendations have not yet been submitted. The maximum sentence for charges of wire fraud conspiracy related to telemarketing is 30 years.

“Jen has pleaded guilty because she wants to pay off her debt to society and put this ordeal behind her and her family. Ms Shah is a good woman who has crossed a line,” her attorney Priya Chaudhry said in a statement. “She takes full responsibility for her actions and offers her deepest apologies to all who have been harmed. Ms Shah is also sorry for disappointing her husband, children, family, friends and supporters.”

Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement following Shah’s guilty plea: “Jennifer Shah was a key participant in a statewide program that targeted elderly, vulnerable victims. These victims were sold false promises of financial security, but instead Shah and her co-conspirators cheated them of their life savings, leaving them with nothing to show for it. This office is committed to eradicating these systems in whatever form.”

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